Terry McAuliffe’s “war on women” campaign theme has caught on with at least one Democrat seeking a House seat. James Harder, running against incumbent Joseph Yost in the 12th district, recently sent out the following mailer:
It’s standard stuff for 2013. Smack the Republican for attacking women, and, if possible, do so in a manner that makes said Republican look like a character out of “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Saying that Yost wants to criminalize miscarriages? That’s right on the Democratic message.
But by dutifully regurgitating that message, Harder’s “values” ran right into something much more formidable: Lisa Yost, who issued the following statement…
“Recently, James Harder launched a disgusting and shameful political attack on my husband that accuses him of wanting to criminalize miscarriages. Not only are Mr. Harder’s attacks an outright lie, but they represent a despicably personal attack.
“Miscarriage is a tragedy. Any mother and father who has lost their child to miscarriage knows the pain, suffering and heartbreak can never be erased. In the past year, Joseph and I have twice experienced the joy and excitement of pregnancy, only to be followed by the devastation and agony of losing our child.
“In my entire life, I have never experienced more heartache and pain. To then see someone suggest that my husband would want to criminalize this experience not only hurts me, it also infuriates me.
“James Harder’s attacks are disgraceful. To exploit this vulnerable experience as a political attack demonstrates a complete lack of compassion and decency.
“When Joseph and I decided he would seek elected office, we knew there would be attacks. We knew their would be lies. We prepared as best we could. But never did we imagine that our most painful, personal trials would become the subject of political fodder for campaign strategists.
“Not only should Mr. Harder apologize for his attacks, he should drop out of the race. His actions are beneath the dignity of the office he seeks.”
The old saying — politics ain’t beanbag — applies here. Mrs. Yost has every reason to be upset with Harder’s mailer. But Harder will not withdraw. If he follows Terry McAuliffe’s example, he will, if anything, quickly double-down on the message.
Which makes him despicable.
UPDATE – 3:50 PM
Pat Mullins and RPV were quick with a blast email condemning Harder for the tasteless ad. Here’s the text:
Chairman Mullins: DPVA, Harder ‘Miscarriage’ Mailer Beyond the Pale, All Involved Must Apologize
RPV Chairman Pat Mullins issued the following statement:
“First, let me say my heart goes out to Lisa and Joseph Yost. I can’t imagine how hard it is for them to be attacked like this, and then have to discuss something so personal and painful in public. You are both in my thoughts and prayers today.
Second, I have a message for Chairwoman Charniele Herring Democratic Party of Virginia: How dare you? You should be ashamed of yourselves. Yes, I realize that the only way you can win races these days is to scare women, but I defy you to look Lisa Yost in the eyes and tell her you stand by this mailer.
Charniele, you’re better than this. I know you. You need to call your staffers who signed off on this mailer and get them on the phone to apologize to Lisa and Joseph, and you need to do it today.
If any RPV staffer had signed off on a mailer this offensive, this personal, they’d be out of a job. Period. There are lines that are not crossed in politics – and making false claims like this, and forcing people who have suffered an immense loss like this to live through it again in public is just one of them.
Finally, if James Harder is any sort of human being at all, he will not only call Joseph and Lisa Yost to apologize, but he will also drop out of this race. Mailers like this don’t go out without the candidate’s approval, and that disqualifies him from any sort of public service.”
Democrat Harder Doubles Down on the Attack
Well that was quick:
Harder said he had not been aware of Lisa Yost’s miscarriages. But he stood by the mail piece in a telephone interview this afternoon, saying he believes the legislation could have had far-reaching implications for women, citing an analysis by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of personhood proposals.